The Netanyahu-Le Pen Axis

They blur every distinction between groups that pose a threat. They dismiss the need to seek motives.

Iris Leal
Iris Leal
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Police security forces during the raid in Saint-Denis region of Paris, France, Nov. 18 2015.
Police security forces during the raid in Saint-Denis region of Paris, France, Nov. 18 2015.Credit: AP
Iris Leal
Iris Leal

Only if you are truly good people, far better people than I, did the series of terror attacks in Paris not awaken the little patriot sitting in your brain that at the right opportunity trumpets, “Now they will finally see what we’re dealing with.”

It’s only natural to feel helpless rage and seek revenge when innocents are massacred in the 11th arrondissement of Paris or in Jerusalem. It’s so natural that the entire politics of the right is built on it. Take Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a known alchemist who holds the philosopher’s stone that turns fear into hatred, who when that Shabbat was over called a bilingual press conference in an effort to plant as quickly as possible in the consciousness of European leaders the connection between the intifada of the knives and the murderousness of the Islamic State.

Innocent people in Paris, as in London and Jerusalem, are victims of terror, and increasingly of Islamic terror, Netanyahu said. He said this not just to inspire the necessary empathy at a time when Europe is demonstrating increasing impatience with Israeli policy, but also to focus the temporary panic that had gripped the Europeans on “the Muslim problem.”

It seems that in France they wrinkled their noses in disgust in response and decided not to buy the goods Netanyahu tried to sell them, labeling them, together with Barkan wines, as products of the settlements. As shocked and frightened as they were, they still haven’t lost their common sense, because they saw the attack as an assault on “the free world,” on “humanity,” and on “the values of liberty.” And because those values are dear to them, they have no plans to listen to those who whisper in their ears, telling them that to defend those values, they will first have to abandon them.

History has taught them that the decline of culture corresponds with anti-Semitism or racist hatred. Force-feeding prejudices to the masses is a prelude to a deep national crisis. The claim that what is common to stabbing terror and the mass murder in Paris is a lust for indiscriminate murder by villains gives off the bad smell of a reverse blood libel. Playing the role of 12th-century Jews who drained the blood of Christian children to bake matza are Muslims everywhere, who are flooding the capitals of the continent with tin cups in hand, seeking to quench their thirst with the warm blood of Europeans.

In addition to the headache from ISIS, European leaders are getting one from the strengthening of nationalist parties. The common assumption in the parade of hypotheses is that Marine Le Pen and the National Front will get to the second round in the next French elections.

But Israel will actually get a dose of empathy from them. The daughter of the anti-Semitic Holocaust denier is the Netanyahu government’s Siamese twin. She also mocks those dreamy enlightened ones. She will gladly compare children with knives from East Jerusalem who burst into tears under Shin Bet interrogations to the ISIS beheaders, because that’s what people like her do. They blur every distinction between groups that pose a threat. They dismiss the need to seek motives. They piss on nuances. The description of the enemy as one murderous monolith serves the false message that Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and the Palestinians from Shoafat are all the same thing, and death is a master craftsman in a keffiyeh.

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